Farewell speech for Isao Takahata by Hayao Miyazaki - Full English translation on 15 May 2018

Farewell speech for Isao Takahata by Hayao Miyazaki - Full English translation on 15 May 2018.

This brochure given to all people coming to the farewell event for Isao Takahata
This brochure given to all people coming to the farewell event for Isao Takahata

The great movie director and producer, Isao Takahata, passed away on 5th of April, 2018.


Today (15th of May, 2018) we were at the farewell event at Mitaka Ghibli museum in Tokyo.


Isao Takahata would not remember but we met him twice in person. The first time at the Ghibli museum in 2010 and the second time in a train (we forgot when). At the Ghibli museum, even though we were just strangers to him, he kindly took the photo with us. At the second time we saw him in the train. We still remember that he was surrounded by his family members and seemed to be having a great time.


We all cried watching his movie, Grave of the fireflies, we all laughed watching Pom Poko. The tale of Princess Kaguya and Only Yesterday were also great to watch. And there were so many animations he worked on such as Heidi, Marco, Lupin the Third. He produced the Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: the Castle in the Sky. We all grew up with, and even when we became adult we still enjoy, all of these works of his.


At the ceremony there was a short documentary about his life. On that documentary there was one scene where his co-worker said "Mr. Takahata insisted 'humans should have wrinkles (even in animation) ' but Mr. Miyazaki insisted 'humans in animation do not need wrinkles' ". Ever watched Only Yesterday and saw how people laugh in that animation? Full of wrinkles as we all have in real ;) This episode shows how Mr. Takahata approached the animation production.


In the morning part of the ceremony (before the public visit), his long term partner, Hayao Miyazaki gave a farewell speech. We are not a professional translator but we felt we must translate his words and spread to the world. This way, the whole world will remember him as one of the greatest animators in the world and as the person who built Studio Ghibli with Mr. Miyazaki. This is what we tried to give back a tiny bit of the kindness and the wonderful world Mr. Takahata showed to us.

Interview to Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki on Only Yesterday. So young (the interviewer is Mr. Haruo Mizuo)!

Hayao Miyazaki's farewell speech to Isao Takahata (or Paku-san as called by Mr. Miyazaki)

Here is the Hayao Miyazaki's farewell speech to Isao Takahata (or Paku-san as called by Mr. Miyazaki). Sorry for the rough translation and possible misspells.

Farewell speech by Hayao Miyazaki - Fully Translated into English -

Not sure why he was nicknamed "Paku-san" really but he was not a morning person. As we started working for Toei Animation, he always came to our office almost late. (In the morning people saw) he often gobble some bread after putting his time card (into a punch machine ) and drink water directly from the tap. The sound he made by eating the bread which is in a Japanese onomatopoeia "paku paku" is rumored to be the reason of his nickname.


It is not an (official) memorial message but today I will read what I wrote.


I thought "the" Paku-san would live until 95 years old. "That" Paku-san passed away. This made me feel that I have not much time left.


9 years ago our medical doctor called me and told me "if you are his friend, you must tell Mr. Takahata to stop smoking.". His voice was serious and even scary. Because the doctor was so serious I and Mr. Suzuki (Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki ) got him to sit together over a table. It was the first time that I talked to him in that serious manner. "Please stop smoking, Paku-san", said I. "To continue your job, please stop (smoking)", said Mr. Suzuki. I expected him to come up with numerous excuses and counter arguments but he simply said "thank you and I will stop smoking." and nodded. And Paku-san really quit cigarette. I deliberately smoked near him (to test his determination). He said "Nice smell but I do not feel like smoking at all". He got me! That convinced me even more that he was destined to live till 95 years old. 


In 1963 when Paku-san was 27 years old and I, 22, we met for the first time. I still remember very well the day we talked for the first time.  In dusk at a bus stop I was waiting for my bus to Nerima. There came a young man walking towards me on the road still partially wet after the rain. "I heard that you are gonna visit Mr. Takuo Segawa." said he. He looked gentle and smart. That was the moment I met Isao Takahata later as known as Paku-san. I wonder why I can remember so clearly; even it was 55 years ago, the memory (of that day) is still vivid. I can still see his face as he was at that time.


I met Paku-san again after I was pushed to be an executive member of the labor's union of Toei Animation. Paku-san was the vice chairman ( of that union). Under the pressure, my hard days started. I wanted to almost throw up under that heavy pressure. Despite of that (hardship), I slept over in the labor's union office (which was a kinda shack). And I and Paku-san talked a lot as if there would be no tomorrow... on so many kind of things, esp on our jobs.

We were not satisfied with our jobs (that time). We wanted to do a job further from and deeper than what we were doing then and something we could be proud of. (We talked about) what we should create. Paku-san's knowledge was so great and broad. I felt so happy that I could meet a wonderful person like him.


The production ( of " The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun " as Takahata worked as its screen writer) did not proceed well. The staff were not familiar with (Takahata's) new style. The work progress was so slow that the project became an headache to the entire company. Paku-san was an incredible persistent guy. Even as the company's top management tried to change his direction with, sometimes, threats and, sometimes, begging, he did not change. I just by myself worked over weekends with no AC in the summer drawing the sketches for the background pictures on the big sheets of paper. The agreement with the labor's union did not allow the work on weekends but I did not care. It was so simple. I just did not punch the time card for the weekend work.


After I watched the first version (test view of the Great Adventure of Horus) I could not move. It was not that I was moved but I was totally taken by the surprise. I was aware of the dispute over the scene of "Mayoi no Mori /the Enchanted forest" as to if it should have been edited out or not. Paku-san negotiated with the company board patiently and he had no choice but had to agree on the number of the animation slide and the number of the work day to the deadline. Of course, he could not keep the agreement. More slides and more days cost. Every time he broke the agreement, he had to write the apologetic letter (to the company). I wonder how many (apologetic) letters he had to write. I was also fully tied up with my own job and I could not help him in that tough fight. 


I watched the scene with Hilda in the Enchanted forest at the first version test view. The overwhelming expression and the pictures! And so much love! I came to understand for the first time that this was what Paku-san wanted to create. He completed the work. (Then ) it was in year 2000, 30 years after the release (of that film), that Paku-san suggested having a gathering inviting the film people. From the person in charge (of the Great Adventure of Horus), the board members, the managers who were pressed between the people on the work field and the company top members in that company (Toei Animation), production manager, illustration staff, the females who worked on the background and colouring to the staff in film-shooting, recording and editing, so many people came. The film was not financially successful but nobody cared about it any longer.


Paku-san, we lived so fully that time. The way Paku-san lived was exactly how we lived. Thank you, Paku-san. I will never forget about you, Paku-san, who talked to me at the bus stop after the rain.


The END of the speech 

( Note: sorry if our translation was not 100% correct! We tried our best. Please let us know for misspelling and so. )

"いのちの記憶/Inochi no Kioku - a memory of life" a theme song  by Kazumi Nikaido from the tale of Princess Kaguya. One of Takahata's favourite song. She sang the song at the farewell event.


And the lyrics was printed on the back of the brochure from the event.

The lyrics of "a memory of life" was printed on the back of the brochure from the event.
The lyrics of "a memory of life" was printed on the back of the brochure from the event.
Great weather on the farewell event  (Inokashira park near the Ghibli museum)
Great weather on the farewell event (Inokashira park near the Ghibli museum)

Isao Takahata forever

What is your favorite Isao Takahata's film? Share with us your view!


Thank you for all!

Write a comment

Comments: 7
  • #1

    hobart mariner (Thursday, 17 May 2018 01:45)

    Thanks for providing this translation!

  • #2

    mbembet (Thursday, 17 May 2018 02:16)

    thank you so much for the translation.

  • #3

    Onegai Kaeru team (Sunday, 20 May 2018)

    It was no problem at all. Mr. Isao Takahata showed us the great world. We only wanted to send the message heard around the world as soon as possible. We worked hard after the ceremony in Mitaka, Tokyo.

  • #4

    jo (Monday, 21 May 2018 11:00)

    Thank you so much for the full translation and the beautiful pics.

  • #5

    Joy (Thursday, 28 June 2018 17:52)

    Wow, thank you so much for translating this along with the beautiful pictures of the memorial service as well as sharing your own happy memories of Mr. Takahata-san.

    I loved the song from Princess Kaguya. I teared up.

    Much love,


  • #6

    Ted M (Friday, 23 November 2018 14:46)

    Thank you for the translation. Isao Takahata is one of the great masters of animation. His work in movies as well as Studio Ghibli are one of the great legacies of all time. He will be forever missed and we are heartbroken.

  • #7

    Onegai Kaeru team (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 00:42)

    We are happy that we could share these words with you all.
    Please share and spread if you can to reach every one of the Ghibli fans on this plant (T0T)